grey couch floating in a house flood


You have a flooded basement; what do you do now?  The EPA estimates that water leaks from homes in the US can exceed over one trillion gallons per year costing the average homeowner $7,000. Many people are under the false assumption that basement flooding is a normal, almost inevitable part of owning a home and that it is something they will just have to “deal with” when it happens to them. As a result of this assumption, homeowners often ignore signs of basement leaking/flooding in hopes that the issue will resolve itself in a matter of days or weeks.

This may not sound like a bad call (after all, it’s just a small leak, right?), but this nonchalant mindset can have serious consequences. First, ignoring water damage can lead to much larger, costlier repairs down the road. Second, water damage from a flooded basement can also pose a serious health risk to you and your loved ones. Moist places, like a flooded basement, are perfect breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and bacteria – all of which can be dangerous to your family’s health.

If your basement experiences even the smallest of floods, it is crucial you have the problem addressed right away. To do so effectively, you should be familiar with the common causes of basement flooding as well as the steps you can take to keep you and your family safe.  Knowing the common causes, and steps to take will ensure the issue does not continue to worsen. Flooded basements are no fun!

Common Causes of Basement Flooding:

  • Heavy rains
  • Home plumbing failures
  • Sump Pump failures
  • Groundwater flooding
  • Insufficient flooring and wall sealing
  • Obstructed gutter system
  • Overfilled eaves troughs
  • Inadequate landscaping-the slope drains toward the home
  • An inefficient or improperly installed drainage system
  • Unfavorable construction site (e.g. built on a bad slope)
  • Water seeping from the ground into the basement

Stay Safe and Minimize Damage by Following These Steps

  1. Call the experts at ServiceMaster to request emergency water extraction and/or mold remediation service. We are available 24/7 and will be out to your property as quickly as possible.
  2. Double-check that all power around your basement (including gas and electricity) is turned off. Do not under any circumstances enter the basement until you have double-checked that the power is off.  Failing to do so could result in electrocution. Continue to refrain from touching electrical appliances in the basement even after you have shut off the electricity.
  3. If you are unsure whether the power has been turned off, contact a local electrician before you enter the flooded area.
  4. Wear boots, gloves, and long-sleeved clothing to protect yourself from potentially harmful contaminants in the water.  Always walk carefully to avoid slipping.
  5. If you’re able to pinpoint the source of water (e.g. a burst pipe), shut off the water to the basement right away.
  6. Direct children and pets to a safe area outside the home. Do not allow them to go near the flooded basement.
  7. Move personal belongings and damaged items out of the basement to a safe, dry, and well-ventilated area to prevent further damage.
  8. If your flood is fairly minor in scope you can try to start removing some of the water by using a sump pump, wet/dry vacuum, pool pump, or a good old-fashioned mop and bucket. This will take quite a bit of time; you likely will not be able to remove all the moisture yourself.  This means your basement is still a welcoming environment for mold, mildew, and bacteria.

Therefore, we recommend you wait for our experts to arrive. We will put our industrial water extraction equipment to work for you. It is faster, far more thorough, and we will utilize our extensive mold remediation experience.  Our experience will ensure all traces of mold and mildew are eliminated.

ServiceMaster Is Here to Help 24/7

If you have noticed a leak or flood in your basement, call ServiceMaster.  You can request our emergency water damage restoration service right away. No disaster – be it water, fire, smoke, mold, or anything else – is too big or too small for our experienced, certified restoration team to handle. To learn more about our comprehensive disaster restoration services or to speak with one of our friendly experts about a potential water problem in your basement or any other room of your home, contact us online today.


This is an updated blog.  The original was published on January 25th, 2017, and can be found here.